ECE 441A

Automatic Control
Catalog Data: 

ECE 441A - Automatic Control (3 units)

Description: Linear control system representation in time and frequency domains, feedback control system characteristics, performance analysis and stability, and design of control

Grading: Regular grades are awarded for this course: A B C D E

ECE 340

Required: Dorf, R.C., and R.H. Bishop. Modern Control Systems. 12th ed. Prentice Hall, 2011.
Reference: Doyle, John, Bruce Francis and Allen Tannenbaum. Feedback Control Theory. MacMillan Publishing, 1990. Online. <>

Course Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Model -- via differential equations or transfer functions -- electrical, mechanical and electromechanical dynamical systems
  2. Linearize a set of nonlinear dynamical equations
  3. Create a second-order model from a system's step response
  4. Construct all-integrator block diagrams from a transfer function, a set of differential equations, or a state-space representation and vice versa
  5. Compute a state transition matrix from a system matrix
  6. Describe -- in terms of percent overshoot -- settling time, steady-state error, rise-time or peak-time how the poles of a second-order continuous-time system influence the transient response
  7. Translate design specifications into allowable dominant pole locations in the s-plane
  8. Calculate a system's steady-state error and how the steady-state error can be influenced via system parameter changes
  9. Construct and interpret the Routh array.
  10. Determine the stability of a closed-loop system
  11. Calculate a system's sensitivity with respect to different parameters
  12. Sketch the root locus associated with a transfer function
  13. Design analog controllers using root locus techniques
  14. Design an analog PID controller to meet design specifications
  15. Calculate the phase margin and gain margin of a system from its frequency response (Bode plots)
  16. Design analog controllers using Bode plot techniques
  17. Design full-state feedback gains to achieve acceptable closed-loop behavior
Course Topics: 
  • System modeling (chapter 2)
  • System descriptions and manipulation (chapters 2 and 3)
  • Feedback system characteristics (chapter 4)
  • System performance (chapter 5) and stability (chapter 6)
  • Root locus analysis (chapter 7) and controller design (chapter 10)
  • Bode plot analysis (chapter 8) and controller design (chapter 10)
  • PID controller design (chapter 12)
  • State feedback design (chapter 11)
Class/Laboratory Schedule: 

Three 50-minute lectures per week

Relationship to Student Outcomes: 

ECE 414A contributes directly to the following specific electrical and computer engineering student outcomes of the ECE department:

  • Ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering (high)
  • Ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data (medium)
  • Ability to design a system, component or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints, such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability and sustainability (low)
  • Ability to function on multidisciplinary teams (medium)
  • Ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems (medium)
  • Ability to use the techniques, skills and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice (high)
Prepared by: 
Greg Ditzler
Prepared Date: 

University of Arizona College of Engineering